The 12 News Days of Xmas 12 - December
Written by Editor   
Friday, 04 January 2019

... the month of the deepest dark - sorry southern hemisphere - but it's also the month of deepest dart and the Hour of Code.

At the start of the month, Amazon made a lot of news but the item that caught my eye was a robot car that you could use to test out your self-driving algorithms. It sounds great fun, but there is a possible sting in the tail that might cost you a lot more than the purchase price and perhaps make Amazon some extra income.

deepracer2Amazon's DeepRacer - Careful What You Wish For  
Saturday 01 December

This sounds wonderful. If only it was going to be available to order in time for the holiday season.  However, it might cost you a lot more than the $400 price tag suggests. Reinforcement racing anyone?

Happy and sad. Happy that there is a new version of OpenCV but sad that it is making progress in removing the C API.

OpenCVOpenCV 4.0 Says Goodbye To C  
Monday 03 December

If you want to do computer vision and don't want to spend years developing the code from scratch, you probably need OpenCV. After a wait of nearly 4 years, OpenCV 4.0 has arrived.

The big shock from Microsoft this month - although we really should be getting used to Microsoft doing shocking things - is that Edge is going Chromium. The news was leaked and then confirmed, including the fact that Edge would run Chrome add-ins. Soon after there was a rumour that the reason Microsoft had given up was that Google was engaging in dirty tricks to take the edge off Edge. Of course, Google denied doing any such thing, but it is as hard to prove they didn't as it is prove they did. The fact that it is possible and thinkable seems to be the important point. Actually the really important point is the Edge is to be a classic Win32 app. Is this the end of the terrible UWP?

chromiumMicrosoft To Go Chromium Update: Confirmed  
Friday 07 December

When we covered the news that Microsoft was giving up on its own browser, Edge, and moving instead to use Chromium last week, it had the status of a rumor. Now Microsoft has confirmed that it is all true and there are some extra surprises - it's a Win32 app for one!

edgeiconThe Job's Not Done Until Edge Don't Run 
Wednesday 19 December

In a recent news item we speculated on why Microsoft gave up on its own rendering engine and decided to adopt Chromium. Now we might have another clue as to why it happened.

More shocking Microsoft news, I really can't get used to it. Microsoft added to its earlier announcement that .NET core was geting a UI by making Win Forms, WPF and UX open source. What this actually means is still not clear and what impact it might have is something we will have to wait for later in 2019 to discover.

netcore3Forms, WPF and UX Go Open Source  
Wednesday 05 December

.NET used to be one of the biggest things in town and then Microsoft decided to go in other directions with WinRT. Part of the .NET system was WPF, arguably the most advanced GUI framework ever. Now the unbelievable has happened - it has been open sourced along with Windows Forms and Windows UX.

Flutter and Dart have been making news all year, but at long last we have Flutter version 1.0. It is a way of creating cross-platform Android and iOS apps and there are efforts to make it suitable for the desktop as well. It sounds magical, but it really is nothing new. Your app runs in a native "container" and this is exactly the approach used by other cross-platform systems such as Cordova etc. What's the advantage of Flutter? Well I guess it has to be Dart, which is not a popular language at the moment. This is another one the jury is still out on.

flutterdartThe Future Is Flutter...  
Thursday 06 December

Is Google's Flutter just another attempt to rescue a failed language - Dart - or is it the future of mobile development? It really is too early to say, but with the release of Flutter 1.0 the balance seems to be moving to the future view.

It's "Hour of Code" time again. My only complaint is that it's "Hour" of code. Is this reasonable? Does it give the impression that an hour is enough? It is too late to change it and anyway do we think that "10 years of code" is more attractive, even if it is more accurate? It ran from December 3-9 and this year coincided with Grace Hopper's 112th Birthday.

minecraftGrace Hopper's 112th Birthday  
Saturday 08 December

Today, December 9th 2018, is the 112th anniversary of the birth of Grace Hopper. Her continuing legacy has been to inspire efforts to enhance the career interests of women in computing. Her concern for teaching young people is why Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code are timed to coincide with her birthday.

In the second part of the year it seemed that every other story was about open source codes of conduct or something related. We not only had Linus Torvalds taking time out to learn how to be polite, there were a number of attempts to remove swear words from code. The final one of the year struck the JDK - let's hope it all stops in 2019.

openjdksq2Eliminating Swear Words From OpenJDK  
Tuesday 18 December

Last week concern was raised over "too many swear words" in  the source code for OpenJDK. Within three days the issue was resolved after a courteous exchange of views.

On the same general subject of open source governance the Python community managed to agree on how things should work after Guido van Rossum gave up being the guiding force. Some cynical people might say that it is the last thing they will ever agree on, but not me... What is a language defined by committee? Python 4.

python3New Governance Model For Python  
Friday 21 December

After Guido van Rossum abdicated his role as Python's leader who had ultimate authority on all decisions relating to the language, some alternative way to run the project became necessary. After a protracted, democratic, process Python will in future be governed by a five-person Steering Council.

To close our review of the year - another Mersenne Prime. Supremely useless, so far at least, and supremely magnificent as an endeavour. Will we have one or two new Mersenne primes in the coming year?

Mersenne51A New Mersenne Prime Discovery
Wednesday 19 December
The 51st Mersenne Prime was discovered on December 7, 2018, less than a year after the previous one was found on December 26, 2017. The new prime number, known as M82589933, has a value of 2^82,589,933-1. It has 24,862,048 digits, more than one and a half million more than its predecessor.


Related Articles

December Week 1

December Week 2

December Week 3

December Week 4

The 12 News Days of Xmas

01 January

02 February

03 March

04 April

05 May

06 June

07 July

08 August

09 September

10 October

11 November

12 December

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Last Updated ( Friday, 04 January 2019 )